NB: I am not paid or rewarded to write this review of the best radar detector under 300 USD. The reasons why I put some devices over the others is clearly mentioned in this article. The content on this page is solely based on my knowledge and understanding of the topic.
There are three kinds of drivers in the USA.
Those who go under the limit always, those who go above the limit once in a while and get a ticket, and those who cross the limit frequently and don’t get any tickets.
It is always those ‘once in a while’ guys who get the tickets, isn’t it?
The reason why others are able to avoid tickets is either because they don’t cross the limit or because they have a radar detector installed.
In my last article where I discussed if radar detectors work anymore, I said that going for a cheap radar detector under $100 is a bad choice.
Now, when I was doing my research to write this article, I realized that many of the best state-of-the-art radar detectors are available under $300.
Apparently, the competition between the best radar detectors under 300 got tighter recently, especially with the release of the Whistler CR97.
Radar detectors manufacturers were forced to cut prices of their products.
Many of the radar detectors in this list actually costs a lot more than $300. But, since they are now available for under 300 on Amazon, I’ve included them in the list.
Best Radar Detectors Under 300
1. Whistler CR97 – The Best Radar Detector Under 300
- MMIC Technology.
- Traffic Flow Signal Rejection(TFSR)
- Field Disturbance Signal Rejection(FDSR)
- Quiet Mode and Auto Quiet Mode
- False alerts are still there, even though lesser than others.
The Whistler CR97 is the best radar detector from Whistler so far. It is packed with tons of features and has improved the performance by a great margin from its predecessor.
The CR97 has almost doubled the range of K and Ka bands, and a significant improvement in the range of X band is also seen.
However, the improved sensitivity of radar detectors comes at a cost of false alerts usually. But the Whistler has done a fine job in countering it by adding several false alert filtering methods.
This radar detector has a unique feature to identify FMCW radars. The range of detection of FMCW is so impressive and comparable to the best radar detectors on the market.
This feature is the reason why I’ve put the Whistler CR97 on this list. More and more FMCW radars are being installed across the USA and maybe this will become the most sought feature in the coming years.
Read the full review of the Whistler CR97 here.
Why the edge over others?
The CR97 has a good range of detection similar to others and it does a nice job in filtering out false alerts, thanks to the filter and GPS.
However, what gives it edge over other under 300 radar detectors is the built-in GPS which the Escort X80 and Uniden R1 in this list lacks.
Also, this detector can effectively detect and identify FMCW radars with an impressive range. The Uniden R1, Escort X80, Uniden DFR8 and the legendary Valentine One are far below the CR97 on this matter.
That makes the CR97 the best radar detector under 300.
2. Escort X80
- Good range of detection.
- Only a few false alerts.
- Great sensitivity.
- False alerts with K band.
- It does not identify BSM systems from Honda.
- No built-in GPS, but works with Escort live app.
The Escort has been in the radar detector business for some time now and the Escort X80 is one of their best mid-range radar detectors.
However, the Escort X80 may not be the best radar detector under 300 for you. It depends on where you are driving mostly and what features you prefer the most.
The reason why I chose X80 as one of the best is, of course, its balance between performance and false alert filtering. It detects radars of up to 3 miles away in real life and gives lesser false alerts.
Or, to be precise, gives false alerts for specific kind of sources only.
The range though is similar to the second in the list – the Uniden R1. But this device has a better false alert filtering.
The X80 won’t be a great choice if you drive a Honda. It has a problem with Honda’s BSM systems and goes off often when a Honda is nearby. Many of the radars have the same problem, so be wise when you choose one.
Why the second best radar detector under $300?
The third in the list, the Uniden R1 is very similar to this X80 in terms of range and sensitivity. What gives it an edge over the R1 is the GPS availability when connected to an Android or iOS phone.
The Uniden R1 don’t have GPS at all.
Although a subscription is needed for the Escort live app to be used with the X80, I think it is totally worth it. You are covered from most of the threats including red light cameras and FMCW radars.
The Whistler CR97 has built-in GPS while this one needs a phone. Hence X80 the second.
3. Uniden R1
- Good range of detection.
- Fewer false alerts.
- False alerts at automatic door openers.
- No GPS and hence no red light camera alerts.
Uniden has always impressed us with the performance of their police radar detectors. Their DFR8 was in our list of best radar detectors under $200, and now the Uniden R1 is in our list of the best under $300.
The Uniden R1 is one of the most hyped police radar detectors on the market. Everyone, every radar detector reviewer speaks about how good it is.
Although I don’t think this car radar detector deserve that much hype, this indeed is a great radar detector.
The range and sensitivity of this radar detector are similar to the X80, but the problem is that it lacks GPS functionality. I know the Amazon page shows that it has GPS, but actually, it doesn’t.
GPS is a must-have feature for me since that can reduce false alerts and alerts about potential threats that can be missed by the radar detector. And also, better false alert filtering.
The reason why it still got a place in my list is indeed its performance. Despite the lack of GPS, it gives a great range and detects most of the threats.
The reason why I think it should be ranked below the Escort X80 is simple. This one lacks GPS completely while the Escort X80 can be coupled with an Android or iOS device to get GPS perks. Oh, and the Whistler CR97 has built-in GPS.
The Uniden R1 would have been the best radar detector under 300 if it had GPS. But Whistler decided to release a separate GPS version, the Uniden R3.
I think if you can spend a little more for a radar detector, you should go for the Uniden R3.
Why the third best radar detector under 300?
Well, if you have read the article till here, you know it already.
This one lacks GPS. No red light camera alerts and no GPS lockouts.
However, you can use a radar detector app along with this radar detector to get red light camera alerts.
4. Uniden DFR9
- Good range but less than R1.
- Built-in GPS.
- Good false alert filtering
- Lesser range than R1.
Uniden DFR9 is the improved version of the DFR8 which got a place in our best under 200 list.
The DFR9 comes with a desirable range of detection and GPS. GPS enables the red light and speed camera protection. Also having GPS has reduced false alerts by a great margin.
But this speed radar detector has a lesser range than all the devices above it. I think the range is what matters the most, as that gives more time for us to slow down and avoid the ticket.
To sum up, if you want protection from all kinds of speed traps, the Whistler CR97 will be the best choice under $300 as it has excellent range, built-in GPS and a good false alert filtering system.
If you don’t want GPS, the Uniden R1 is the best radar detector under 300 for you.
It has excellent range and a great balance between sensitivity and false alert filtering. If you’d like to have a GPS enabled R1, you should go for the Uniden R3 – an excellent radar detector.
The X80 is a nice one to have but the need for a phone and an additional subscription for the Escort live app puts it low on this list.